Councillor Kim Richter thinks that subdivisions are the problem with the Hopington area. I disagree.
I guess she needs a platform heading into an election, and of course everyone hates subdivisions, so why not tag that with the contentious Hopington aquifer and assure a seat on council.
Our family have lived on farmland above the aquifer since June of 1946. Having a dug well of 70 feet deep that was slow to refill taught us to be very mindful of water useage. We have never watered our lawns and all livestock waterers are checked regularly for any problems and repaired immediately if one is found.
At present there are 14 steers and four goats on the farm and my water systems tells me that my average daily usage during this warm spell is just over 160 imperial gallons per day. In the winter without the cattle it is down to about 50 gallons. So where is the water from the Hopington going? If it is being drawn off for the Gloucester industrial park, another water supply should be considered immediately.
First, let’s start with the ALR. The ALR was brought in because big farms were being gobbled up by expanding cities and villages. Something clearly had to be done to save the land for future food production. Langley at the time was made up of some dairy farms, a few berry farms and a lot of small hobby farms – although at the time no one called them that. Because it was rural people who usually raised their own beef, pork, mutton, and vegetables. The legislation locked the land into the ALR regardless of the quality or viability of the land, but most importantly without any regard for water to support these farms. We all know you can’t grow food without water, but apparently no one thought to check.
In the last couple of years I have seen very little building on the Hopington, but I have seen quite a few blueberry farms and some very big poultry barns. The 20 acres of blueberries across the street from us was planted in the last three years. Last year the owner installed an irrigation system. Today I looked as the drip system was on and noticed the water between the rows in the low areas to be about four inches deep. I would estimate his usage at approximately 20,000 to 25,000 gallons per day, using in two days more than our farm uses in year. I don’t know what a large poultry barn consumes in a day but imagine it is considerable.
In 1998 I had to deepen our well from 70 feet to 147 feet and if things keep going the way they are eventually deepening it won’t do any good. Now I have nothing against these businesses, but one has to ask, is the Hopington water just for the crops or is it for the people who live on it? Because when the water is gone no one will be growing food.
Which brings me back to my point concerning subdivisions; perhaps it is time to have the land reassessed and allow some subdivision on marginal land, and use the development to bring water into the area for the residences presently drawing water from the Hopington.
The provincial government has created this problem so they are the ones that should fix it. Setting aside land for future food production without regard for other requirements is a little short sighted. We don’t need more regulations on the Hopington or in the ALR without some study, and hopefully soon.
I am beginning to feel as though we are being punished because of where we live.
Mel Fast, Aldergrove